Support Home > SkyMate 'OneTouch Communications' - Proper Antenna Placement
In order to ensure proper operation of the SkyMate system, careful consideration must be given to antenna placement. Please follow this specification when installing a SkyMate antenna - otherwise it is very likely that the system will not perform satisfactoraly.
1. Select a location with a clear view of the sky.
2. Position the SkyMate VHF antenna 4 – 6 feet from any other VHF band antenna and at least three feet from any metal structure. Antennas closer than four feet, whether active or not, cause distortion of the antenna pattern and cause poor performance. The following antennas are considered VHF antennas: VHF radio, Loran, differential GPS, AIS, and 2-meter band.
3. Place the SkyMate antenna 10 – 12 feet from Satellite TV antenna if installed. (See Illustration below)
4. Ensure that any other installed antennas are placed an appropriate distance from your SkyMate VHF antenna. We recommend the following:
• VHF radio antenna: 6-8 feet
• Loran antenna: 6-8 feet
• Differential GPS antenna: 6-8 feet
• AIS antenna: 6-8 feet
• 2-meter band antenna: 6-8 feet
• Structure (tower, mast): 4 feet
• GPS antenna (L-band): 1 foot
• Cellular antenna: 3 feet
• SSB or HF antenna: 4 feet
• Satellite TV: 10–12 feet
Adhere to the following rules when installing the VHF antenna:
• The same guidelines that apply to standard marine VHF antennas apply to your SkyMate VHF antenna.
• The coaxial VHF antenna connects to the SkyMate antenna with a BNC VHF connector.
• For cable length less than 50 feet use LMR – 195 coaxial cable.
• If a cable length greater than 50 feet is required, use LMR – 240 coaxial cable.
It is SkyMate’s recommendation that the antenna be temporarily mounted and tested for signal strength before permanently mounting. In this manner the antenna can be moved around for optimal signal. VHF signal strength is provided in the SkyMate Software by selecting SYSTEM/STATISTICS. VHF signal strength is gauged with Satellite Availability and Transmit Factor.
After one hour signal strength should read, at minimum:
SATELLITE AVAILABILITY 35%
TRANSMIT FACTOR 25%
When installed on the same plane as a tracking dome antenna (of any type) the SkyMate VHF antenna must be placed 10'-12' away from the tracking dome antenna to prevent interference from impacting the performance of the SkyMate system's reception. Alternatively, if it is not physically possible to place the SkyMate VHF Antenna 10'-12' away from the tracking dome antenna due to spacial restrictions and considerations, you can achieve the proper distance by placing the SkyMate VHF Antenna on a 4' extension as close as 6'-8' away from the tracking dome antenna. By raising the SkyMate VHF Antenna up in this way you will effectively be moving it back out of the interference range of the tracking dome antenna. This is a more frequently used alternative for smaller vessels.